Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Blueberry streusel muffins

Ever since I saw these delicious looking blueberry muffins, I have been wanting to make them. But, blueberries have been expensive, so I haven’t.  When I went to the grocery store the other day though, they were $4 for a pint. Not too bad, so I bought them. I was excited to finally make these muffins. But, then I did what I usually do and didn’t read the whole recipe.  Damn. I realized I didn’t have any Sugar in the Raw and I wanted to follow the recipe as written. So, alas, I had to wait another day to go to the store AGAIN. But, actually it is okay because I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookie sandwiches filled with marshmallow fluff frosting that I want to make…so I grabbed some Fluff too. I haven’t made the cookies yet, but I cannot imagine them to be anything short of amazing. Of course, I will share. Anyways, back to the muffins. They were easy to put together and baked up beautifully with perfect rounded tops.  The cake part is fluffy and not too sweet, the blueberries are juicy, and the raw sugar gives the buttery streusel a wonderful crunch.  Oh, the muffins were just as I hoped they would be.

My picky family won’t eat these muffins as they don’t like cooked fruit. But, they sure tear the heck out of any kind of raw fruit, so I can’t complain.  As much as I love blueberry muffins, I can’t shouldn’t eat all 12 muffins myself. So, I will be bringing them to work tomorrow. Too bad there are only 12 though. Actually, make that 11 because I ate one for quality control. I mean, how else could I tell you about them? But, 11 muffins and about 30 coworkers?  Those are bad odds.  I know it will be Monday morning, but they better move fast 🙂

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Yield: 12 standard size muffins

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar     I used vanilla bean sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter, diced into small cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp Sugar in the Raw

In the bowl of your food processor: Add 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar and the cold butter cubes.

Pulse for a few seconds, just until the butter is evenly distributed throughout and the crumbs just come together in tiny crumbles. Note: The crumb mixture should still be fluffy. If you pulse too much, the crumbs become heavy and sink.

Pour the crumb mixture into a small bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar lightly with your fingers. Set crumb mixture aside.

Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
7 Tbsp vegetable oil     (you can measure 1/2 cup, then remove 1 Tbsp)
1/4 cup buttermilk   shake well
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large egg eggs
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries    Washed, dried, and all stems removed

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a wire whisk, mix for ~30 seconds or so. Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sour cream and eggs. With a wire whisk, mix until well blended, ~30 seconds. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined. Note: the batter should still be a bit lumpy. If you over mix, you will not have fluffy, tender muffins. Who wants that?

Gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.

With a large ice cream scoop, divide muffin batter evenly into 12 paper lined muffin cups. Take the the crumb topping, fluff it a bit with your fingers and sprinkle the entire top of each muffin (about 1 tbsp per muffin).

Bake muffins about 18 – 22 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through the baking time, until they are lightly golden and pass the toothpick test.

Cool the muffins several minutes in the pan before removing to wire rack to cool.

Source: Cooking Classy

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Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

I was looking for a recipe to use up some leftover blueberries and well, this recipe had me at brown butter. Okay, at streusel too.  You know how I am a sucker for streusel!  Please don’t be intimidated by the brown butter. It sounds fancy, but really you just melt butter in a saucepan until it turns golden brown.  As long as you don’t burn it, that’s all there is to it.  The first time I made brown butter, I was nervous.  I almost dumped it because there was a bunch of brown specks.  I thought for sure I messed up.  It sure wouldn’t be the first time. But after a quick check online, I realized that’s just right.

I only used half the amount of the blueberries called for in the recipe because that was all baby Alex would spare.  But, I liked it this way because the berries didn’t overwhelm the taste of the muffin. And, oh my goodness, the muffin itself is delicious.  I am the only one in the family who likes blueberry muffins.  I have told you before that my family is a little crazy, right?  I didn’t want to eat all the muffins, so I brought them to work and had some very happy coworkers.  As I was eating my muffin, I was thinking how good it was, even without the blueberries.  It would make a lovely crumb cake muffin that my coffeecake-loving husband would go crazy for.  I think I’ll try that next time, maybe even with a ribbon of cinnamon sugar or sweet cream cheese?  This is the perfect base for experimenting with different flavors. But, I have to say, blueberry is a darn good place to start.

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffin:

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into a few pieces

1/3 cup buttermilk    I used regular milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh blueberries   I used about 1 cup

Place rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 375 F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.  Set aside.

Place a small skillet (not nonstick or you won’t see the color change) over medium heat.  Add the 7 tablespoons of butter.  Move the butter around with a spoon until it is melted, turns a medium brown color and smells nutty. Remove from the heat right away, before it turns black.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the cooled brown butter.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in all the milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula. Do not over mix. Carefully fold in the blueberries then divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin pan.  I used a medium cookie scoop.   Make the streusel topping.

For the streusel topping:
3 Tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine the 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Rub together with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter in the cups.

Bake the muffins for 20 – 22 minutes, or until a little golden.  Test with a toothpick.  Cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source:  Joy the Baker Cookbook via Pennies on a Platter

What’s Baking November Round-Up- Oh My, It’s Pie!

I am so excited to be hosting November’s round-up for What’s Baking.   I was trying to think up a theme and decided it would be a good idea to try to incorporate Thanksgiving.  When I think of Thanksgiving, besides spending time with family, the turkey and all the fixings, I can’t help but think of dessert.  And, dessert for Thanksgiving always seems to include pumpkin pie.  But it doesn’t have to be pumpkin, does it?  There are so many different delicious kinds of pie. So, let’s ditch the pumpkin and make pie the theme!

My good friend, Eva of Eva Bakes, recreated the old-fashioned Southern sweet potato pie that was the perfect ending to a real barbecue meal on a recent trip back to her Southern college town.  For this pie to be authentic, a recipe with pumpkin pie spice would just not do.  It was not easy, but Eva found the perfect recipe, without the spice, that allowed the sweetness of the potato to come through.  My husband is crazy about sweet potatoes.  He would totally love this pie!

sweet potato pie

After scoring a bunch of peaches at the farmer’s market this summer, Heather Lynn at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, made and jarred peach jam.  Luckily she had enough fruit to make this delicious peach pie filling too.  Heather Lynn had a mini-Thanksgiving dinner with some friends and all she had to do for dessert was make a pie crust for the sweet, spicy and juicy peach filling she already made.  Now, that’s easy entertaining. Ina would be proud!

peach pie1

Part of what Jenna from Jenna’s Cooking Journey likes about What’s Baking is that she spends a lot of time reading through blogs, looking for the perfect recipe.  She has found some great new blogs this way, including Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. where this blueberry cheesecake pie caught her eye.  Mel’s is one of my favorite blogs, too.  Mmmm…cheesecake with fresh blueberry topping? Sign me up!

blueberry cheesecake pie

Yudith, from Blissfully Delicious, didn’t really like coconut cream pie until she tasted this one that she made special for her mother’s visit.  This pie sounds delicious with a chocolate wafer crust, coconut pudding, sweetened whipped cream and toasted coconut.  And, congratulations to Yudith and her family on a new addition due this May. How exciting!

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Ange, from The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen, likes to steer clear of pumpkin pie for the holidays and do something different. This time she decided to give sugar cream pie a try. Although it smelled good while it baked, Ange was disappointed with the consistency and sweetness.  I’m sorry Ange, I have had more than my share of baking disappointments.

Sugar Cream Pie

Joanna, from Kosher Kitchen, decided to make chocolate pecan pie with homemade pie crust.  Although she was nervous at first, thankfully, it was easier than she thought.  The pie was well received at her Thanksgiving dinner.  After eating it, her second cousin declared Joanna’s husband a lucky man.  Her husband couldn’t help but agree, for this pie and a list of many other things. 😀

chocolate pecan pie

Sandra, of She Cooks and Bakes, just had a baby (congratulations) and was hosting Thanksgiving, so she needed a quick and easy dessert.  This peanut butter icebox pie fit the bill.  Peanut butter and chocolate just happens to be my favorite flavor combination.  In fact, I am eating mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s as I type this. They are so good and I am now sad that they are almost gone.  Now, I have to buy more and make this pie!

Peanut butter icebox pie

Cookie Dough Cream Pie, say what?  Carrie from Carrie’s Sweet Life made this pie from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, which I own. I have made several recipes from the book and they have all been wonderful. Honestly, I don’t know how I missed this recipe because it looks and sounds delicious.

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Stephanie, at Brownies and Blondies, was talking to her fiancée about his mom’s coconut cream pie recently and decided to make it for What’s Baking.  But, it seemed too summery, so she decided to add cranberries.  And then what the heck, throw in some white chocolate because it goes so well with cranberries.  And that is how this white chocolate coconut cranberry pie was born!

pie

Nicole, from Seven Ate Nine, decided to make Paleo Pie because her husband and his dad are on the Whole 30 Program, which doesn’t allow for anything in a dessert pie. So, she made an egg “crust” and filled it with eggs, sausage, peppers and onions to make a quiche of sorts.  I never think of savory pies, but we love eggs in my house.

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And, I made French silk pie. It has always been a favorite of mine and apparently it is now Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite too. Of course baby Alex loved it, but really that is no feat, he eats everything.  The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to worry about raw eggs.  ATK found a way around it and the filling is actually cooked. So now it is safe for small children and it is still delicious.  Really, crazy delicious!

ATK French silk pie pie

Carrie, from Carrie’s Sweet Life, is the December hostess for What’s Baking.  So, at the end of next month, make sure to head over to her blog for a round-up of some delicious peppermint recipes!

November WB collagePM

Strawberry Soda Ice Cream

This month for What’s Baking, the theme “Something that reminds you of your favorite place” was chosen by Joanna at Newlywed and Newly Cooking.  I couldn’t really think of a particular favorite place, but really, anywhere I am with my family is a favorite place. 😀  This summer I went strawberry picking at Stade Farm with my daughter, my son, some of their friends and their moms.  It was a perfect day.  It wasn’t too hot, we filled our baskets with strawberries, and the kids (and moms) had a blast.  We love to eat strawberries, but no matter how quickly we eat them, they always go bad.  So, I made some strawberry frozen yogurt that night.  The next day they were looking like they were already starting to turn. I quickly washed them, cut all the leaves off- which took forever because they were tiny little berries, and I froze them to use another day.

When I made the Milky Way ice cream last week, I saw this recipe for strawberry soda ice cream, another prize winner.  I had the frozen strawberries, but I didn’t have any Big Red soda (or pop, whatever you like to call it).  In fact, I’ve never even heard of it.  I was able to find a big 2 liter bottle at Jewel. When I got home, I just had to try this crazy looking red cream soda.  I thought it tasted a bit like bubble gum, so I don’t think I would drink it straight up, but my son loved it.  This is a really easy ice cream to make, if your kids aren’t picky like mine.  You just mash the berries and whisk all the ingredients in a bowl.  But, because my kids don’t like fruit in their ice cream, nor seeds, I blended the mixture and ran it through a sieve.  Once you make the base, you just let the machine do the rest.  One taste of the sweet, pretty pink strawberry ice cream brought me right back to the perfect day we had at Stade Farm. Don’t you just love how food can do that?

Strawberry soda ice cream

1  14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups half and half

3/4 cup red cream soda (Big Red) or regular cream soda

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and mashed

Whisk the condensed milk, half and half, red cream soda, whipping cream and mashed strawberries in a medium bowl.

I poured this mixture into my blender and ran it through a fine strainer.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.  I find it best to freeze ice cream containing condensed milk overnight to really get firm enough to hold its shape.

Source:  Food Network July/August 2012

Triple Citrus Bars

Back in April, I made key lime pie bars and I loved them so much, I ate most of them myself (almost half while taking the pictures). Embarrased smile At the bottom of the recipe, there was a variation for triple citrus bars that also sounded delicious, but I didn’t have the lemons and oranges.  So, I stuck with the lime and bookmarked these to make some other time.   Tonight we had a bunch of people over for a Burbs viewing party (how awesome is that?) and so I made the “god damn brownies”, Baked of course.  I thought these citrus bars would be the perfect non-chocolate dessert to serve with the super rich fudgy brownies. And, that way, I couldn’t eat them all this time.

These bars are really easy to make.  The hardest and most time consuming part is collecting up all the zest and all the juice.  But, I loved the contrast of the tartness from the lime and lemon with the sweetness from the orange.  The flecks of orange, green and yellow zest looked so pretty against the cream colored base.  So, it is well worth the effort.  I really enjoyed the animal cracker crust as opposed to the usual graham cracker. Its more neutral flavor really allows the citrus flavors to sing.  Then you have the creaminess from the condensed milk.  Mmmm…condensed milk.  Am I the only one that could eat a can of this stuff with a spoon?

I’m sure you have had lemon bars a million times.  And, they are delicious, one of my favorites.  But, next time you have a taste for citrus…change things up a bit and try these triple citrus bars. You won’t be sorry.

Triple Citrus Bars

Yield: 8 x 8 pan (9 to 16 bars depending on how you cut them)

For the crust:

5 oz animal crackers

3 tablespoons  brown sugar

pinch salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Filling:

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest

pinch salt

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg yolk

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with 2 pieces of foil perpendicular to each other, leaving overhang on all 4 sides.  Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust:  Pulse animal crackers in the food processor until broken down, ~ 10 pulses. Process the crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds (you should have about 1 1/4 cups crumbs). Add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, 10 – 12 pulses (if large sugar lumps remain, break them apart with fingers). Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, ~ 10 pulses. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn off oven.

For the filling:  While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zests, and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy, and thoroughly combined. Add the condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain.  Whisk in the egg yolk. Add the 3 juices and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).

Pour filling into crust; spread to the corners and smooth the surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

To serve, loosen edges with paring knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions. Cut the bars into 16 squares.  Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 2 days; the crust will soften slightly. Let the bars stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.

Source:  More Best Recipes

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

I totally fell in love with this strawberry frozen yogurt this summer.  So when I had some leftover blueberries I decided a blueberry version would be delicious.  Hmmm…but, where to get a recipe?  Well, if it is ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, basically anything frozen, then you turn to The Perfect Scoop for the recipe.  If you didn’t already know, you can trust me on this.  David Lebovitz is the master.
I love that this is a no-cook recipe that contains, 1,2,3,4,5 ingredients.  Just five. Nothing weird or scientific sounding.  Nope, just regular household stuff so you don’t have to feel so bad about indulging in this treat.  The base is easily prepared in the blender and then frozen in your ice cream maker.  I was blown away by the gorgeous color of this ice cream. I love pretty food. 😀   Then when you get past the color and taste it, you won’t believe how unbelievably bold the fresh blueberry flavor is.  Delicious.
This month Jaida at Sweet Beginnings is hosting What’s Baking and the theme is summer fruits.  This ice cream is the perfect way to highlight the sweetness of blueberries when in season and cool down maybe just a bit during this crazy hot summer.
Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
Makes 1 quart
1 1/2 cups (360 g) plain whole-milk yogurt   (You can sub Greek yogurt)
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 cups (340g) blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tsp kirsch    I used vodka
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a blender or food processor, blend together the yogurt, sugar, and blueberries.  Press the mixture through a strainer to remove as much of the seeds as you can.  Don’t skip this step or the texture will be gritty. Stir in the kirsch and lemon juice.  Chill the base for 1 hour.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you’d like it richer, sub in 1 1/2 cups (360g) of Greek Yogurt.

Pink Lemonade Popsicles

Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite summertime drink is pink lemonade.  So, when I saw these pops, I knew that they would love them.  Especially on a day like today, where here in Chicago, we got to enjoy a high of 99 degrees. Ugh. Crazy hot.  So, we decided to stay inside and have a Disney movie marathon, complete with snacks and refreshments, including these delicious pops.

Luckily, this time, I was able to obtain both lemon zest and lemon juice without any injury. 😀  I then blended the juice and zest with the sugar to make the lemonade concentrate.   I diluted the lemon mixture with water and then added a few strawberries for flavor and for color.  While the recipe doesn’t say to strain the liquid, I ran it through a sieve, knowing Jack and Sammie would not like the seeds.  Although the Vitamix takes care of most of the seeds, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  In other words, heading off any complaints of “Yuck. I hate seeds.”  After waiting 4 hours for your pops to freeze, just one taste and you will fall in love the lemon pucker and unexpected hint of strawberry flavor.  Jack and Sammie loved the pops.  They each gave them a sky high thumbs up, the highest rating at our house. 😀

Pink lemonade popsicles

Yield: 9 to 11 pops (I got 8)

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1/2 cup (4fl oz/125 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1/2 cup (3.5 oz/105 grams) plus 2 Tbsp superfine sugar

2 fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled

pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, combine the lemon zest and juice and sugar.  Pour in 1 3/4 cups (14oz/430mL) of water.  Add the strawberries and salt and blend until the mixture is smooth and pink.  I strained the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds and removed the froth from the top with a spoon.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when they are part frozen, about 1 hour.  Then continue to freeze until solid, about 3 more hours.

If using an instant ice pop maker (Zoku), follow the instructions to fill and freeze.

Source:  Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats.

Fresh lime sherbet

When I was a kid, my favorite flavor at the ice cream shop was rainbow sherbet.  I was one of the weird kids who picked through the sherbet not for the orange or the raspberry.  Nope, I loved the lime.  So, I had a bunch of limes to use and I found this recipe for fresh lime sherbet.  Perfect.  All lime, so no picking through rainbow sherbet for the good stuff.  I had never made sherbet before.  And, even though it sounds all fancy, it really isn’t any harder than making homemade ice cream.  After countless times of stinging hands and burning eyes from hand juicing citrus, I finally broke down and bought a juicer.  I know. What had I been waiting for?  This made the juicing process so much easier.  But, then I had to go ahead and somehow zest off part of two of my knuckles.  Ouch.  But, Sammie kissed them and now they are all better. 😀

According to ATK, sherbet is a cross between sorbet and ice cream, containing fruit, sugar, and dairy, but no egg yolks.  It should taste vibrant and fresh like sorbet, be smooth in texture but not heavy like ice cream.  So, how do you do make lime sorbet?  The first step is grinding the lime zest (Don’t worry. I only used the zest, pre-accident 😀 ) with the sugar and salt in the food processor to release the oils.  You then then add lime juice mixed with water (to reduce the acidity) and strain it so the sherbet is totally smooth.  The lime mixture is added to heavy cream that has been whipped to create the light texture.  You then churn the base in your ice cream maker and freeze it at least 3 hours before eating.  Ugh.  Three hours is a long time.  But, let me tell you, it was so worth the wait.  The sherbet is super creamy and tastes so unbelievably bold with fresh lime flavor.  Are you looking for the perfect, refreshing dessert to complete a delicious summer meal?  Well, I’m thinking this is it.

Fresh Lime Sherbet

Yield: 1 quart

1 tablespoon lime zest
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons vodka or Triple Sec (I used vodka)
2/3 cup heavy cream

Process the zest, sugar and salt in your food processor until it’s damp, 10 to 15 one second pulses.  Combine the lime juice and water in a large measuring cup.  With the machine running, add the juice-water mixture in a slow, steady stream.  Continue to process until the sugar has dissolved completely, about 1 minute.   Strain the mixture through a nonreactive, fine-mesh strainer into a medium, freezer-safe bowl.   Stir in the vodka (or Triple Sec) and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Chill in your freezer until the mixture is very cold (about 40 degrees F), 30 – 60 minutes. Don’t let the mixture freeze.

When the mixture is cold,  using a whisk, whip the heavy ream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cold juice mixture in a slow, steady steam down the edge of the bowl and into the cream. Immediately start up your ice cream maker and add the juice-cream mixture to the canister; churn until it has the consistency of soft serve ice cream, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Transfer the sherbet to an airtight storage container; press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.  The sherbet can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week.  To serve, let the sherbet sit at room temperature until slightly softened and an instant read thermometer reads 12 to 15 degrees.

Source: The New Best Recipe

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Last fall, when we went apple picking my daughter asked if we could go strawberry picking next.  I wasn’t so sure it would be easy to find a place when we live in the Chicago suburbs.  But, after looking a bit online, I found a place called Stade Farm in McHenry, about 45 minutes from where we live.  Thank goodness they have a newsletter to subscribe to because there is no way I was going to remember this come June and I’d totally miss it.  I was so excited when I got an email that the berries were ready to be picked on Saturday.  But, my son had a baseball game, so we’d have to wait until Sunday.  Then I get an email on Saturday night that all the berries had been picked and wouldn’t be ready again for at least 5 days.  Ugh!  We were so disappointed.  But, it worked out for the best because I talked some of the moms from Sammie’s preschool into coming with us the following week.  So, that was much more fun with all the kids so excited to be there and trying to pick the most strawberries or the biggest ones.   We had perfect weather and everyone had a blast.  On the way out, in true Kim fashion, I realized that my car key fell out of my pocket somewhere in the field.  Well, this is a major problem, as you can imagine,  for many reasons.   The fields were large, they could have been buried in the plants, if I couldn’t find them my house is 45 minutes away and I’m not even sure where the spare is.  Thank goodness when I asked at the register if someone had turned in my keys, an employee was just bringing them in.  Phew!!  Major, major disaster averted.  I am never this lucky.

Jack will always smile for me, Sammie usually not.

The strawberries were pretty small, but super sweet.  We ended up with about 7 pounds.  Since strawberries don’t last very long, I was trying to figure out what to do with them.  Then I remembered seeing this strawberry frozen yogurt recipe on Eva Bakes and thought my kids would love it.   It is just 5 ingredients.  How great is that, especially compared to some of the ice cream you buy at the store.  Here’s the rare occasion where I can actually say that I made something healthy.  Mark your calendars, you probably won’t see this again for awhile. 😀   The color of this ice cream is amazing and it tastes so intensely of fresh strawberries, it’s unbelievable.  I don’t make ice cream very often because I have found that any time I make it with heavy cream, though it tastes good, my husband and I notice a weird film in our mouths.  I can’t figure out why that is so if anyone has any ideas, I would love to know because I love ice cream.  But, this recipe uses yogurt instead, so I didn’t have that problem.  In late August, raspberries will be available for picking at the farm.  We are already so excited to go and I think I have an idea of what to do with them.  Raspberry frozen yogurt anyone???

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Yield:  About 1 quart

1 pound (450g) strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
optional: 2 teaspoons vodka or kirsh   I omitted and added a splash a vanilla instead
1 cup (240g) plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.   Stir every so often.

Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.  I strained it.

Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Source:  David Lebovitz via Eva Bakes

How cute are these strawberries?

How cute are these strawberries?

Blueberry Swirl Streusel Muffins

When I was at the grocery store Monday night, I bought a bunch of blueberries because they were buy one pint get one free.  The kids love them and ate a bunch, but I wanted to bake something with them too.  The problem is, my kids won’t eat anything with cooked blueberries in it.  But, I saw these blueberry swirl muffins in Cook’s Illustrated and I really wanted to make them.  The recipe makes 12 muffins, too many for just me to eat (though I would give it a valiant effort :D) and too few for Justin to bring to school.  Shoot.  But, then I remembered that on Wednesday, my parents were coming over to have a picnic in the park with the kids and me.  Perfect.  I could unload some of my muffins on them.  A peace offering of sorts.

These blueberry muffins bake up to look the way I always hoped they would.  Just perfect.  Honestly, they look and taste straight from the bakery.  But, they do require a few steps.  First you make a quick blueberry jam.  That may sound hard, but I promise, it isn’t at all.  You just simmer and reduce down some blueberries and sugar until it is thick.  Then you make an easy muffin batter, mixed by hand, that serves as a base for the fresh blueberries and jam.  Next, you make a 5 ingredient streusel, mixed together in a bowl with a fork.  Finally, you scoop the batter in the cupcake wells, swirl some jam on top with a skewer, top generously with streusel, and bake.   In the end, you get this delicious muffin that you are going to look at, eat and then say, “Wow, I can’t believe I made this”.  I love when that happens.

Blueberry Swirl Muffins with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Streusel

Yield: 12 muffins

2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups (7 3/4 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar   divided
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup vegetable oil    I used canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the muffins: 

Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 425F.   Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with your spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.  Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined.  Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining 1 cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. Batter will be very lumpy with a few spots of dry flour.  Do not overmix or your muffins will be dense.

Use ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).  Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter.  Using a chopstick or skewer, even a toothpick, gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure eight motion.  Make streusel topping, recipe below, and pile evenly onto muffins.  Or, prepare the alternative topping, lemon sugar, recipe below, and sprinkle onto muffins.

Bake until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

For the streusel topping:

Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, pinch of salt, and ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour in small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea sized pieces throughout.  Sprinkle streusel topping over muffins before baking.

Alternative topping, Lemon sugar:

1/3 cup (2 1/3 oz) sugar

1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

Stir together the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl until well combined.  Set aside.  The sugar is sprinkled on top of the muffins just before baking (on top of the swirled jam).

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook 

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